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Fighting In Yemeni City Dies Down As Cease-fire Takes Hold

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Fighting In Yemeni City Dies Down As Cease-fire Takes Hold

Yemen’s key port city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday morning, hours after a UN-mediated cease-fire went into effect between government-allied forces and the country’s rebels, Yemeni officials said.

Fighting subsided as the cease-fire took effect, with only the sporadic sound of automatic weapons fire heard in the city, where the port handles about 70% of Yemen’s imports. Yemen’s four-year conflict pits the internationally recognized government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, against Shiite rebels known as Houthis.

The government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi called for its forces to “cease-fire in both Hodeida city and the province” also named Hodeida, according to a statement from Hadi’s Defence Ministry. The rebels also welcomed the cease-fire in the key port city.

The agreement came during UN-sponsored talks in Sweden last week. A joint committee led by UN officers will oversee the cease-fire and the redeployment of the warring parties’ forces out of Hodeida, which is currently controlled by the Houthis.

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Local authorities and police will run the city and its three port facilities under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.

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UN envoy Martin Griffith has said the committee is expected to start its work swiftly “to translate the momentum built up in Sweden into achievements on the ground”.

The cease-fire is the first step in a process the UN hopes will lead to a province-wide truce in Hodeida and the demilitarisation of the Red Sea trade corridor, said Peter Salisbury, a consulting senior analyst on Yemen at the Brussels-based Crisis Group.

“But it’s important to note that the deal itself is quite specific in saying that this is not part of a wider peace process: It’s an agreement made for humanitarian rather than political reasons,” he said.

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“Both the prisoner swap agreement and the Hodeida agreement have clear language saying they should not be seen as political agreements or precedent for further deals.”

Delegations from the government and the rebels said earlier this month in Sweden that they have exchanged prisoner lists. The lists will be reviewed over four weeks, ahead of a final swap to be facilitated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, they said.

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World News

Thailand To Hold First Elections After Military Rule

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Thailand To hold Elections In March After Military Rule

Thailand says it will finally hold elections in march after more than four years of military rule.

The poll will be the first since generals ousted a democratically elected government in 2014 after months of violent street protests.

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The election commission announced the decision on Wednesday after having postponed the vote’s date several times.

In December the commission said the elections would be held in Febuary, but the military government expressed concern that election-related events would clash with early preparations for the coronation of King Maha scheduled for May.

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The monarchy is revered in Thailand, and this year’s coronation will be the first in living memory for most of the population.

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World News

U.S. Senate Plans To End Partial Shutdown

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U.S. Senate Plans To End Shutdown

The U.S. Senate is on the path to resolving a partial shutdown that has lasted for a month now, but there was no sign of relief anytime soon for 800,000 federal workers who are working without pay.

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Republican senate majority leader Mitch Mcconnell laid the groundwork for a vote on Thursday on a proposal by Democrats to fund the government for three weeks, but without attaching the 5 billion dollars president Donald Trump is demanding for U.S.-Mexico border wall.

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The president has opposed similar legislation.

The senate leader said he would also bring up for a Thursday vote, a proposal by trump to end the shutdown that includes border wall funding and relief for “dreamers,” people brought illegally to the united states as children.

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African News

France Extradites CAR Football Official Wanted By ICC

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France Extradites CAR Football Official Wanted By ICC

France has extradited to the Hague, a senior Central African Republic football official wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in the C.A.R.

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A committee member of the Confederation of African Football  Patrice-Edouard Ngaïssona, was arrested in Paris last month for coordinating attacks on Muslims in his country. He has denied the allegations.

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Patrice had declared himself political co-ordinator of the Christian anti-Balaka militia. The group has been blamed for hundreds of killings.  The ICC says Patrice was responsible for murder, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers.

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